December 26, 2005

Privilege to Game

Filed under:Gender, Privilege, Videogames — Lake Desire @ 10:30 pm

While I was jotting down a list of the gifts I received for Christmas, I thought about a remark I made on yesterday’s entry about boycotting sexist games. Often, being able to boycott is a class and wealth privilege because you need access and money to patron alternatives to unethical companies.

When I worked at Walt Disney World on its college program, I lived in an apartment complex and rode buses provided by companies that Disney contracted. One bus route included hourly runs to Walmart on certain days of the week. Walmart is a store I choose not to spend my money at, so I found the location of a Publix grocery store. There were three ways I could get there: rides from roommates with cars, taking an on call shuttle that made special trips to the Publix, or taking the contracted bus to another Disney housing complex that was a mile walk from the store. Taking the “on-call” shuttle would require a cell phone (a privilege) or finding a pay-phone or phone to borrow. I was able to get rides from roommates (who had cars–again, a privilege) on a few occasions, but generally walked to the store, where I endured the summer heat and the shouts and honks from passing cars while I carried my groceries. Even after all that, I was still able to afford to purchase organic and prepared health foods because my parents gave me money to supplement the $100 US I averaged (after rent, which Disney deducted from my pay check, and taxes) after a 40+ hour work week. Being middle class, even when I working a job that paid less than my home state of Washington’s minimum wage, allowed me to have the privilege of boycotting.

Being able to game is a privilege. Being able to boycott is a privilege. I have the power to engage in the leisure activity, and try to change things about it that I don’t like. In the spirit of invisible knapsacks and unpacking them, and this blog’s themes, below I’ve listed some of the ways my situation has given me an advantage over others in relation to technology. I am an American, white, from a Christian family, middle-class, young, able-bodied, average-sized, and non-transexual.

  • I can decide what technology is valuable, and look down on those who do not have access to technology or choose not to use it.
  • I can ignore my positions of power. I didn’t think to preface this post with a disclaimer of the American-centric point of view.
  • I can decide what products to boycott, afford to boycott them, and criticize others for not boycotting them.
  • I can have an ad-free blog.
  • When I purchase a game, my payment is unlikely to be questioned because of my physical appearance or dress.
  • I grew up with a computer, and was taught how to operate one and type in school. I grew up with video games and access to them.
  • I can afford a cell-phone and a laptop.
  • I have the leisure time to game.
  • I can afford to purchase the newest games and technological gadgets.
  • I can drive to the store to immediately purchase something I decide I want, and can afford to pay shipping if I choose to purchase it online.
  • I can decide what others could afford or should purchase if only they didn’t spend their money on what I define as frivolous.
  • Games are written in a language that is familiar to me.. Game reviews and magazines are written in a language I understand, and “experts” are usually from my race and class.
  • I can use the internet as a tool to reach others like myself.
  • I can determine which genres of games are valuable and which are “beneath me.”
  • I can easily find games that represent members of my own race.

    Links to Privilege Checklists and Articles

    Here’s a collection of privilege checklists I’ve come across online. I’ll update it as I find more, and please share suggestions for additions.

    The Male Privilege Checklist

    Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack White privilege checklist by Peggy McIntosh, who started privilege checklists.

    Social Class Privilege — Beyond Ethnicity, Gender, and Religion

    Non-Poor Privilege Checklist
    The Invisibility of Class Privilege

    Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack II: Sexual Orientation

    Able-bodied Privilege : Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack

    Non-Trans Privilege

    The Costs of American Privilege Not a checklist, but I still wanted to include American privilege.

    Fatshadow’s Average-sized Privilege Checklist
    Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack of Sexual Conservatism…

    Heterosexism 101

    Last update: March 14, 2006

  • end


    1. Just out of curiosity, do you feel that these things apply more for someone from the upper middle class, as separate from the lower middle class, where one’s concerns might be more on starting to consider having clothing and other possessions that distinguish oneself from the working classes or just be grateful to always have enough food for the family and utilities with which to prepare it?

      Comment by agm (3 comments) — January 3, 2006 @ 1:29 pm

    2. Also, I came here through a link from Jack William Bell. Things look interesting!

      Comment by agm (3 comments) — January 3, 2006 @ 1:30 pm

    3. Welcome, agm.

      I think my own list can apply to both lower and upper middle class, although moreso the latter because they don’t have to worry about putting food on the table. As far as the links I posted, privilege is interwoven. A poor white person in the US will still have racial privilege, to use a common example.

      I hadn’t thought about the ways classes strive to distinct themselves through their purchases. If it’s something I do, I’ve been oblivious to it. I’ll try to watch more for it.

      Comment by Lake Desire (208 comments) — January 5, 2006 @ 9:58 pm

    4. Cool post!

      Two link updates: The most current version of the “male privilege checklist” can always be found here.

      Also, the link to the non-trans privilege list appears to have died. I couldn’t find a live link, so I’ve posted it on my blog.

      Comment by Ampersand (1) — September 22, 2006 @ 5:08 am

    5. [...] Privilege to Game [...]

      Pingback by Listing Different Forms of Privilege | Queer People of Color — December 31, 2007 @ 12:49 am

    6. [...] I’ve completely swiped these links from the sidebar at Official, and from Lake Desire’s list at New Game Plus. [...]

      Pingback by Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » A List Of Privilege Lists — October 9, 2008 @ 9:33 am

    7. [...] Privilege to Game Lake Desire’s list of how privilege, gaming and boycotts intersect [...]

      Pingback by A List Of Privilege Lists | Alas, a Blog — January 12, 2013 @ 9:58 am

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